Spread over three years, the grant will be invested into different projects each with the same aim: to engage more people in the life, the work, and the history of the cathedral
People have been gathering on the site of Sheffield Cathedral for more than 1,000 years. A church has stood here for at least 900 years. Cathedral status was granted in 1914. The cathedral has survived many troubled times, the Reformation, the Sheffield blitz, however, the COVID pandemic was the first time the cathedral had ever shut its doors to the community it serves. With the help of volunteers and through hiring equipment the cathedral was able to live stream some services, but this was expensive and not sustainable.
With the support of Benefact Trust, Sheffield Cathedral will now transform its digital capability. Cameras in the nave and side chapels will allow the cathedral to live stream services throughout the world. In addition, six new 65-inch monitors will display information about services, forthcoming events and provide interpretation about the history and the heritage of the Grade 1 listed building.
Funding has also been provided to support two new part-time roles. A Digital Communications Assistant has already been recruited. Soon, the cathedral will be advertising for a Learning and Schools Engagement Officer to develop and rollout an education programme for schools, families, community groups and visitors. This ambitious programme will include taking cathedral life into schools as well as offering children and young people the opportunity to visit the cathedral as part of their education.
But that’s not all, during the last 12 – 18 months, the cathedral has experienced an increase in the number of visitors it welcomes from different countries and seen a growing congregation with people from different ethnic communities. As a result, the cathedral is going to refresh its heritage area and improve interpretation throughout the whole building.
The Very Revd Abi Thompson, Dean of Sheffield said: “This is incredibly exciting and we are extremely grateful to Benefact Trust for their award. Sheffield Cathedral has so much potential. It’s a beautiful building with so many stories to tell. Through investing in our digital capability and in our human resources many more people will learn about everything that takes place in the Cathedral, its history, its heritage and engage with Cathedral life.”
Usman Saeed, Grants Officer for Benefact Trust, said: “We’re excited to support the multiple projects Sheffield Cathedral is undertaking to increase its reach and impact in communities locally, and across the world. Covid meant that the cathedral had to temporarily close its doors, but it’s fantastic to see that since then the cathedral has been working to open as many ‘doors’ as possible to connect with new communities.”
Any school or community group wishing to benefit from participating in the new education programmes to be delivered by the cathedral should email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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